Excavations in Chersonese Tauride brought unexpected results
Since November last year, the archaeologists of the museum-reserve have been conducting research near St. Vladimir’s Cathedral. So, last month, a fragment of the largest statue in the history of the study of the ancient city was discovered there, and today’s discoveries have provided us with new data to resolve the issue of the duration of the existence of Chersonesus.
Ekaterina Sergeevna Lesnaya, senior researcher at the Settlement and Necropolis Department of the Museum-Reserve, said that during the work, the remains of the ancient and medieval periods were discovered, in particular, the walls and untouched graves of the temple, built after the 10th century. The researchers managed to clarify its layout, and most importantly, a 14th-century ossuary grave was discovered, in which ceramics, costume items and amulets of that period were found. Previously, it was believed that by this time there was no longer a functioning temple on the central square, but the discovered finds allow us to take a fresh look at this stage in the life of the city.— noted in the press service of the museum-reserve «Tauric Chersonesos».
The scientific secretary of the museum-reserve Natalia Vitalievna Ginkut spoke about the artifacts found and their significance.
The discovered objects make it possible to open a new page in history and clarify a number of important points in the chronology and topography of Chersonese. These finds are directly related to the peculiarities of the funeral cult in the 14th century. One of these finds is a small bowl with the image of the monogram of the Archangel Michael, made in Byzantium. Its discovery is due to the fact that at that time a custom was widespread throughout the Mediterranean, by virtue of which, along with the buried, objects of worship were placed. The bowl contained holy water or oil, which was used at the time of burial, they were poured over the body of the deceased, after which they were placed in the grave. Of particular importance to the find is the fact that a burial with such objects was discovered in Chersonese for the first time. Also, amulets and small shards of amphoras were found in the ossuary, on which crosses and the traditional Christian inscription “IC.XС.NIKA” were drawn. These fragments were placed on the chin of the buried, replacing the cross. It is also interesting to find cowrie amulets made from mollusk shells that live in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Researchers believe that these amulets were used exclusively for children and pregnant women. All discovered finds expand the chronology of the life of Chersonese, adding new facts to the history of the city.
Thanks to the work of archaeologists, today we can conclude that in the XIV century Chersonese continued to function along with other Crimean cities, life in it at this stage had not yet been interrupted. Excavations at St. Vladimir’s Cathedral continue, and, perhaps, new artifacts will be discovered soon, which will allow us to clarify a number of points in the history of the ancient city.
source: Development Department of the State Museum-Reserve Tauric Chersonesus
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